INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– An Indianapolis woman who survived the Missouri duck boat tragedy spoke from her home about the heartache of losing her husband and children and a new petition she is launching to ban duck boats.
Tia Coleman lost nine of 11 family members during last month’s disaster that killed a total of 17 people. Donovan Hall, Coleman’s nephew, was the only other survivor from the family. Her husband, Glenn, and three young children – Arya, 1, Evan, 7, and Reece, 9, were among those killed.
“My family, really meant everything to me, just like anyone else’s would, they meant everything to me,” Coleman said.
The other victims were from Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois.
The family was in Branson, Missouri on vacation when storms caused the boat to capsize. Multiple lawsuits for hundreds of millions of dollars have been filed as the families try to reform or shut down the duck boat industry.
“The duck boats are death traps, nobody else should have to go through that,” Coleman said.
The Coast Guard says the boat shouldn’t have been on the water.
Robert Mongeluzzi, an attorney for the Indianapolis-area family, said additional lawsuits are expected on behalf of other members of the Coleman and Rose families who died. He said duck boats’ canopies trap people when the boats sink and the duck boat industry was warned about that hazard more than a decade and a half ago.
Coleman says the “new normal” has been a difficult adjustment. “It’s a house now, but it’s just not home anymore… I just hear silence. My family really meant everything to me.”
Today Coleman launched a petition on change.org to ban “duck boat death traps” in response to the tragedy. You can sign the petition or learn more about it here.